I have to stop and remind myself that this is just another preseason game.
Otherwise, I might get carried away and say something like “The Ravens look like a Super Bowl contender.”
Of course, they might be. But let’s not use fake football games to judge that.
Saturday night’s 23-20 win was a breakout game of sorts for Joe Flacco in the preseason; as he made precise throws and moved the ball around to multiple receivers. His long throws to Kelley Washington gave hope to the idea that the Ravens may have established a wide receiver opposite Derrick Mason.
Ray Rice showed exactly why the Ravens want the ball in his hands; tallying 99 all purpose yards. Willis McGahee showed his abilities as a change of pace back; finishing off the Ravens’ 2nd TD drive.
Are there areas where the Ravens can improve? Yes. Joe Flacco struggled in the 2 minute drill before the half, and the team was penalized 7 times for 45 yards. Also, the 2nd string offense failed to produce any points, and the 2nd string defense gave up 10 points.
But they were really impressive……again.
The type of impressive that makes you get some crazy ideas.
Ravens Final Stats:
Flacco 23/28 247 yards 1TD
T. Smith 7/10 57 yards, 1INT
Parmele 4 rushes 68 yards
Rice 10 rushes 32 yards, 8 catches 67 yards
McGahee 6 rushes, 16 yards, TD
Mason 6 catches 71 yards
Washington 3 catches 66 yards
Williams 4 catches 43 yards
Heap 4 catches 35 yards TD
Webb 7 tackles
J. Johnson Sack
Ngata, Barnes .5 Sack each
Hauschka 1/2 FG (38 long), 2/2 XP
10:52-Victory formation will help Ravens improve to 3-0 in fake football games, finishing off the Panthers 17-13. Gerry Sandusky tells us that the last time the Ravens opened a preseason 3-0, the 2000-01 Ravens went on to win Super Bowl XXXV.
I won’t read into it quite that much.
Be back shortly with a wrap.
10:49-Matt Lawrence with a tough yard to pick up a first down. Ravens should be able to polish this one off.
10:47-Sandusky says scouts from 12 different NFL teams in the house looking for players who may end up getting cut.
10:45-Jalen Parmele with a nice run, looking to lock up a potential spot as the Ravens’ 3rd running back.
10:44-Or John Beck and company. I’m not partial….
10:42-John Kasay is good from 50 with 3:39 left. 17-13 Ravens; and Troy Smith and company need to milk the rest of this clock….
10:41-Have you ever seen more drama over the difference of a 5 yard penalty or loss of down? At least tonight’s game will be more exciting than Thursday night at Atlanta…..
10:37-Gerry Sandusky: “If this were the regular season, things would really be getting tense right now in a 7 point game.”
Oh if only…….
10:33-Panthers driving again. 2nd string defense struggling for a 2nd straight game.
10:27-Troy Smith has been pretty good on this drive so far. Ravens approaching the red zone with about 8 minutes to play in this one.
Consider me a curse. Smith’s next pass goes through Edgar Jones’ hands, and is intercepted by Dante Wesley. Panthers ball.
10:24-75% of the people who texted the broadcast think Matt Stover will be the kicker on September 13. This is absolutely meaningless, but humorous I guess.
10:16-They don’t get the challenge, but they do get the TD. Decori Birmingham plunges in for the score on 4th down. Frank Walker blocks the XP, but he was much too early.
Carolina makes it 17-10 with Kasay’s XP.
10:12-Birmingham can’t get in on 3rd down from the 1. The Panthers will go for it. Why wouldn’t they? Actually, John Fox will throw a challenge flag. He might as well, as this will be a timeout to prepare their next play if nothing else. I will admit, it looked at first as though Birmingham might have gotten in.
10:10-1st and Goal from the 25 is not the math you want to be facing. But a strong through from Josh McCown gets the Panthers right back down to around the 5. Decori Birmingham puts them on the doorstep.
10:05-17-3 at the end of the 3rd; but the Panthers are on the doorstep. I will be forced to admit that I might get distracted in the 4th; as UFC 102 has started, and I will be poking over at that every now and then. Bear with me.
10:03-Nakamura, Zbikowski, Walker, and Webb in the secondary right now. Delhomme finds Muhammad deep down the sidelines with the starters out. Nakamura and Zbikowski were in a tough spot there trying to cover a very good veteran receiver.
9:57-Justin Harper is NOT on the roster as of right now in this blogger’s opinion. He has to make some plays to try to convince this team they have a 5th receiver on the roster.
9:53-Joe Reitz in on the opposite side of Michael Oher. Reitz is a guy who has the size, but remains raw in his 2nd year. Jameel McClain missed a tackle on that drive, but he shouldn’t be concerned.
Troy Smith into the game at QB, he finds Demetrius Williams for a 1st down.
Flacco finishes 23/28 for 247 yards and a TD. He was even better than the numbers.
9:50-Listening to Ed Reed talk to Rob Burnett; I’m reminded that having the Super Bowl in Miami again this season will certainly be a motivating factor for some of the guys on this team. Obviously Ray Lewis, Tavares Gooden, and Antwan Barnes would also be amongst the guys who would love the chance to go to “Dade County” as Reed said.
Jarrett Johnson with the sack, and the Ravens force another punt. Lardarius Webb now in to return punts.
9:46-Good stick by K.J. Gerard there on kick coverage. The rookie out of Northern Arizona was impressive in mini-camps, but has not seemed to do enough in the preseason to warrant taking a roster spot. He’s not completely out of the mix, but he faces a long road.
9:43-Steve Hauschka remains on the field with the starters in the 2nd half. This could be a statement from Harbaugh about the competition again. Hauschka gets the make good, and puts the Ravens ahead 17-3 in the 2nd half with the 38 yarder.
9:40-Gerry Sandusky saying “Todd Heap is Back!” might be a bit much, but another nice grab by the Ravens TE. Also, kudos to Michael Oher for moving to the other side of the line and continuing to grind it out on the left. He wasn’t perfect in the first half; and I’m not sure I agree with Rob Burnett’s praise. Oher was beaten on this drive by fellow rookie Everette Brown (Florida State) and resorted to a hold. Hasn’t been a great night for Oher, but hopefully a learning experience.
9:37-Kelly Talavou has continued to impress on the D-Line. He’s a guy who I thought had a long way to go to make the roster; but could be winning a spot. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is impressed (via Twitter).
9:31-First half stats:
Flacco 17/22, 199 yards, TD
Rice 9 rushes, 25 yards; 6 catches, 55 yards
McGahee 3 rushes, 6 yards, TD
Mason 5 catches, 61 yards
Washington 2 catches, 59 yards
Heap 3 catches, 23 yards, TD
Delhomme 6/10, 96 yards
Goodson 6 rushes 15 yards
Smith 2 catches, 37 yards
King 1 catch, 31 yards
Baltimore: 16 first downs. Carolina: 4 1st downs.
Baltimore: 231 total yards. Carolina: 104 total yards.
9:21-Calm the excitement a little bit. For all of the great things Joe Flacco has done tonight, he was not great in the 2 minute drill. He didn’t turn the ball over; but you would have liked to have seen the ball moved downfield in a quicker motion.
GREAT first punt from Sam Koch pins the Panthers inside the 5 yard line; and that will take us to the half. 14-3 Ravens at the break. I’ll be back shortly. John Harbaugh tells Stan White the starters will come back for the start of the 2nd half.
9:19-Flacco not as crisp in the 2 minute situation as you’d hope. He’s moving the ball, but it is taking more time than you’d like. This is where having a player like an Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe or Brandon Marshall makes a world of difference.
9:15-Nice play there by Haloti Ngata. The guy might not admit it, but he really wants to get some deserving Pro Bowl recognition this season. Chris Carr with the smart decision to throw a block to make sure Baker’s punt went into the endzone.
Also, this situation plays out EXACTLY how the Ravens want it to. Joe Flacco will get the chance to work a 2 minute drill; and Steve Hauschka could get a chance to try another pressure kick.
9:09-Dom is going to have to make tackles better than that. Although you have to like Haloti Ngata’s hustle to get downfield there and make a tackle. Panthers don’t waste any time getting into Baltimore territory. He nearly let Kenny Moore escape on the next play as well. His tight coverage has been impressive, but he can’t allow poor tackling to hurt him.
9:04-I firmly believe that Willis McGahee can thrive as a change of pace back in this offense. McGahee has good feet; and can move forward very well. He plunges in for the 1 yard TD here, and the Ravens go ahead 14-3 after Hauschka makes another extra point with 4:16 to play in the half. Joe Flacco has looked REALLY good this preseason. Very, VERY impressive.
9:02-Tough night for the Panthers’ Chris Gamble. He’s called for another penalty covering Mason. You can’t help but worry that Flacco has a tendency to zero in on Mason; which is why the rhythm he appears to be developing with Kelley Washington is even more important.
9:00-Nice juke by Derrick Mason on Chris Harris there. Mason is not much of a YAC guy; mostly because he tries to be a little smarter about when he goes down and when he tries to extend a play. He doesn’t do anything particularly silly when he was the football. Still a joy to watch.
8:56-The Ravens CLEARLY want the ball in Ray Rice’s hands; and you can tell why. He’s a special type of player who can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands. Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee will still have their opportunities; but Ray Rice is clearly the man in this offense. Might as well call him Ray “Touches” Rice this season.
Flacco back to Mason to convert a 3rd and 9. Every time he catches a ball this season I’ll be thankful he didn’t actually retire.
8:53-Not a great play on Chris Carr’s return of Jason Baker’s punt. It wouldn’t have mattered, because Antwan Barnes was called for holding. Barnes is a guy who APPEARS to be on the good side of the 53 right now, but certainly doesn’t have anything locked up.
8:50-Nice play by Domonique Foxworth breaking up a throw to Mushin Muhammad. Good night for Foxworth thus far. He’s not a Number 1 corner, but he’s gonna get those assignments this season. He’ll have to be up for the challenge, especially against taller receivers.
8:45-Sounds like there are a few Ravens fans in Charlotte tonight, as Joe Flacco floats a beautiful TD pass to Todd Heap to put the Ravens ahead. Hauschka’s XP makes it 7-3 Ravens with 13:23 to play in the 2nd. Kudos to Heap for bouncing back from the drop to make that grab.
8:43-Joe Flacco has been the story of the game thus far for the Ravens; as he has looked particularly comfortable in the pocket; with the exception of hanging on to the ball too long when he was sacked. I really doubt Joe is thinking at all about the Ravens bringing in Brandon Marshall.
8:40-I hope I hear the guy from 105.7 come out to practice again this week and tell someone Kelley Washington “hasn’t made the team yet.” He knows who he is, and another 42 yard bomb to Washington makes me feel more and more comfortable in my assertion that Washington will be the #2 receiver on Sept. 13.
3-0 Panthers at the end of the first quarter.
8:37-The handoff to Ray Rice on first down featured an end around gadget; the 3rd down play was also a deceptive pitch to Ray Rice. Some creative play-calling there from Cam Cameron and company. Todd Heap with the drop on the ensuing first down.
8:32-John Kasay puts it through from 38 after a bad snap. The Ravens kickers could learn something from him. 3-0 Panthers with 2:02 to play in a very quick moving first quarter.
8:26-Great protection for Delhomme and a long completion to Jeff King on Baltimore’s side of the football field; about the 21. Delhomme with a variation of the no-huddle that is successful, as he finds Steve Smith for what appears to be another first down. Strike that. Smith was called for a personal foul-face mask. Rare to see an offensive player called for a face mask in that situation. They keep the first down, but back up 15 yards to the 25.
8:23-After Graham Gano missed a kick last week, Harbaugh decided to pull him for Hauschka even though they had been giving each kicker a half to kick up until that point. I imagine Harbaugh will stick with Hauschka after that miss, but it REALLY makes things interesting.
Important to remember that the Ravens did NOT game plan for the Panthers this week due to playing on Monday Night Football and having only two days of practice before Friday’s walkthrough. The successful plays underneath may not have been so successful for the Panthers had the Ravens been able to gameplan.
8:20-The underneath pass to Ray Rice isn’t NEARLY close enough to the endzone; and Hauschka is forced to kick.
WHOA. 27 yard miss? Still 0-0, and the Matt Stover rumblings are about to get even louder.
8:18-Hello foot, here’s my gun. The false start is followed up by a delay of game. It doesn’t seem as thought it’s particularly loud in North Carolina tonight; so that must be a failure to communicate.
Flacco sacked by Tyler Brayton. Cam Cameron CANNOT be happy with how things have gone. Maybe Harbaugh should have challenged.
8:17-A little surprised John Harbaugh didn’t throw a challenge flag; but this does give him the chance to run some goal line plays.
Michael Oher called for a false start. That hurts. First flinch to the rookie tonight.
8:11-Kelley Washington continues to impress. He and Derrick Mason make first down grabs on Joe Flacco’s first 2 passes. I’ve been reading again this week that Kelley is a “bubble guy.” In what world? Demetrius Williams was the other “starter” tonight in place of Mark Clayton, but I still think Washington is going to be in the lineup in Week 1.
Tom Clark SWEARS he saw someone jump on the play where Flacco hit Mason to the 1. I didn’t get to watch the replay; but it CERTAINLY looked like Mason got the endzone. Nice drive for Flacco early.
8:08-Rookie Mike Goodson takes the pitch on the Panthers’ first lay of the night. What would have been a big run was brought back by a penalty. RB DeAngelo Williams has been battling injury issues. Paul Kreuger (Terrell Suggs) and Justin Bannan (Kelly Gregg) get starts.
Near pick for Domonique Forxworth on Jake Delhomme’s first pass; but the Panthers NEARLY converted another 3rd and long on this Ravens defense. Greg Mattison is fine with them getting yards as long as the Ravens stop them short, but after Mark Sanchez’s TD drive last week; that has to be an area of concern.
Chris Carr with a nice return on the Panthers’ first punt of the game. Ravens take over in Carolina territory.
8:04-Another crucial night for kickers Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka, and Hauschka appears to be getting the first shot tonight. He’s the clubhouse leader for the job right now; and said tonight would be a bit of a homecoming for him, as he finished his college career at NC State. The name Matt Stover was thrown about a good bit this week around Owings Mills; but I still believe the kicker on Sept. 13 against the Chiefs is already on the Ravens roster.
7:48-An appearance by my parents (The great Tom & Karen Clark) at Summer Camp. They came bearing turkey pepperoni, chips & Margaritaville salsa, and crackers and hummus. I’ll be enjoying a few Miller Lites this evening as well.
7:41-The first round of cuts comes this week; but the roster only needs to be down to 75 players. There is a chance the Ravens could decide to cut a player before the final preseason game (Thursday against the Falcons) that will surprise us, as the team could decide to give some players a chance to sign elsewhere before preseason is over.
LB Prescott Burgess is certainly a bubble guy right now, as well as WR Yamon Figurs, CB Evan Oglesby, and RB’s Cedric Peerman, Matt Lawrence, and Jalen Parmele.
7:34-Not many former Ravens on the Panthers roster. K Rhys Lloyd is with the Panthers in the preseason, but seems unlikely to make the roster, unless they decide to keep him as a kickoff specialist. Former OL Keydrick Vincent is also with the Panthers. Certainly seems unlikely that the teams will have as much emotion as they did Monday night in facing former friends Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, etc. etc. etc.
Panthers FB Tony Fiammetta (Syracuse) attended Walkersville High School in Frederick County.
7:30-I have been given word that Chris Chester is confirmed as OUT tonight, and Marshal Yanda will likely get the start at RG. Meanwhile, OT Jared Gaither is suited up and will go. (Kudos to the Twitter account of The Sun’s Jamison Hensley…..which is apparently where my friend found out the news.)
7:25-Via the Panthers’ Twitter account, we can confirm that Godfrey is not in uniform. RB Jonathan Stewart is also not in uniform; same can be said for Safety Nate Salley.
The Panthers are 0-2 in the preseason, with a Week 1 (24-17) loss to the Giants in East Rutherford and a Week 2 (27-17) loss to the Dolphins in Miami. The Ravens are 2-0 in the preseason, with a Week 1 (23-0) win over the Skins, and a Week 2 (24-23) win over the Jets.
7:20-One key matchup to watch tonight will be rookie OT Michael Oher vs. Panthers defensive standout Julius Peppers. Oher admitted this week that he grew up watching guys like Peppers; and Peppers will provide the unique combination of size, speed, and veteran savvy that Oher likely never saw against SEC opponents while at Ole Miss. This should be a very unique learning experience for Oher; who has always been able to use his mass and freakish athletic ability to beat defenders. It will be interesting to watch how he reacts when Peppers uses a move he has never seen before. I don’t expect Peppers to unleash his full arsenal in a preseason game; but he should provide a unique challenge for Oher.
7:17-Tonight’s game can be seen on WBAL11 and MASN….or MASN2…..or maybe MASN8 “The Ocho”. (I’m pretty sure it’s MASN2…..what a disaster that thing is.) Radio broadcast team Gerry Sandusky, Rob Burnett, and Stan White will have the call.
If you’re like me and already glued to WBAL11, you’re watching NFL Films’ presentation of the 2008 Ravens season. As emotional as it was to watch the highlights of the win over the Cowboys at Texas Stadium again; I just about lost it watching OJ Brigance address the team after the Jaguars game. Wow.
7:07-I do not have an OFFICIAL list of scratches for tonight’s game; but I know we won’t see:
WR Mark Clayton, LB Terrell Suggs, DT Kelly Gregg, and TE LJ Smith. I also don’t expect to see OT Stefan Rodgers, WR Biren Ealy, OL Chris Chester, LB Dannell Ellerbe, or OT Oniel Cousins.
LB Jon Beason won’t go for Carolina, LB Thomas Davis and CB Charles Godfrey may also miss tonight’s contest.
Coach John Harbaugh told us to expect the starters to go AT LEAST the entire first half this week; and that this game is usually treated as a “3 quarter game.” I doubt we’ll see many starters go 3 quarters, but I imagine we WILL see Joe Flacco go the entire first half; as the coaching staff would probably be very happy to see him get the chance to run a 2 minute drill (similar to the drive Troy Smith ran in the first preseason game against the Redskins).
I don’t really expect 30+ guys like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Trevor Pryce, and Derrick Mason to play into the 2nd half either.
7:00-Greetings from……..my couch. That’s right, I did NOT make it Charlotte and Bank of America Stadium to see the Baltimore Ravens battle the Carolina Panthers; but I will keep you company right here from the Glenn Clark compound (affectionately known as “Summer Camp”), at least until my girlfriend (“The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet”) distracts me with the delicious smells of her buffalo chicken dip.
I’m kidding, you’re stuck with me all night. She’ll just half to feed me some dip while I blog.
You can also enjoy more wacky one liners and shtick with Luke Jones tonight on Twitter. Just follow WNST. I might even poke over there every now and then.
I’ll set the table next.